Book by John C. Parkin, review by Rosa Kemeny.
The provocatively titled book, F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way, has received a stream of positive reviews praising John C. Parkin’s work on defiant relaxation. Parkin at one point worked for a London advertising agency but gave up his job to run relaxation retreats in Italy. In the book, many relatable triggers of stress are described and it is argued that simply saying “f**k it” and relaxing is the way to go.
Written as a product of 20 years of eastern spiritual practice, it would be understandable for you to say, “hold on… does this review belong in a Psychology blog?” Actually, when I picked up the book I wasn’t sure what to expect but quickly realised that this is not so much about spirituality but is more about acceptance and relaxation. Perhaps an equally fitting title could be ‘F**k It: The Ultimate Acceptance and Relaxation Way.’
My first thought when reading the title was that Parkin was advocating apathy… something along the lines of “caring about things hurts so stop caring” which sounds like a cop-out, right? Parkin does not argue that we should not care about anything, but rather that the things that are meaningful to us can be stress (and distress) triggers. Throwing our hands in the air and sighing “f**k it,” can be emotionally liberating and give us the space we need to allow us to return to whatever it is that we want to be doing.
Parkin discusses many areas of our lives that we can say ‘f**k it’ to. For example, in the ‘Say F**k It to Your Relationships’ chapter, it is argued that when we let go of the worries around our relationships, the following relaxation can allow us to either a) enjoy the relationship more, or b) realise that the relationship is not serving us and that we can move on.
Whether or not you agree with the ideas presented, Parkin’s comedic writing style makes his book an enjoyable read. Indeed, some parts of the book are laugh-out-loud funny. Throughout, Parkin touches on his own experiences with mental illness and some of the more difficult parts of his life. Not only did this give context to his writing but it also added a level of human vulnerability.
All in all, I enjoyed the book and recommend it for your reading list. Copies can be purchased here.